“I’m pretty sure my mom is undressing him with her eyes,” Benita says.
“Isn’t everyone?” I laugh.
“I missed you, Court.” She pulls me into a big hug.
“Missed you too.”
Drew walks up, and he’s smiling. “Apparently, you’re not the only one who has cop fantasies.”
Benita and I burst into laughter, and we say our goodbyes to everyone. Soon the house is empty other than my brothers and parents. Mom and Dad are in the living room, and I walk in and give them hugs goodnight. Drew tells everyone goodnight as well.
“Spare room,” Dad says as we walk up the stairs and I shake my head.
“Told you,” I say toward Drew, checking out his cute little butt.
We walk into my room and Drew lets out a deep breath. “You’re right. Your dad is intense.”
“He’ll grow on you,” I say, walking to him. “Now, where were we?”
“Mm,” Drew moans into my hair, pinching the skin of my neck between his teeth. “You were showing me to my room, ma’am,” he tries to say in a Southern accent but fails miserably.
I sigh. “Yes, to your room. Because if you stay in here, you’ll get murdered. There are too many places to hide a body.”
I grab his hand and open the door to the room that’s right across the hallway from mine. It’s got a big wooden bed with a quilt my great grandmother made and even has its own bathroom. I turn on the lights in the room and give him the grand tour. He pulls me into his arms, and I don’t want to let go.
“I’m going to take a shower and go to bed, I think,” Drew says. “I wish you were coming with me.”
He looks so sexy right now, with his hair pulled back into a ponytail. I think about it for a few seconds, imagining his hard body against mine and realize that I can’t. “Too risky.”
“I understand. I’ll be thinking about you the whole time,” Drew dips his head down and kisses me.
“Goodnight.” I wrap my arms around his neck. “Thank you so much for coming with me.”
“I want it to be our new tradition. I like everyone.”
“Really?” I can’t stop smiling.
“Really.” Drew pulls me in for one last kiss before I walk out and the only person I can think about when I close my eyes is him.
I hear the water come on in the other bathroom and decide to wash the travel stank off too. As soon as I’m out of the shower, I lie in bed and fall asleep with a smile on my face.
The commotion at four in the morning wakes me before the sun does, though I should be used to it. Ranching is early work that must be done every day, rain or shine. I toss and turn until the sun blares through my windows. Worst night’s sleep ever, and I truly believe it’s because Drew wasn’t beside me.
I walk downstairs in my pajamas, and Drew’s already awake drinking coffee with my mom and brothers. They didn’t stay because they all built houses on different parts of the property, but they’re here every single morning to drink coffee before starting their daily tasks. I’m surprised they’re all smiling, and I realize Drew is telling them stories about different prostitutes and drug dealers he arrested. I’m pretty sure right now they’re all in love with him, which makes me happy.
“Court, I’m trading you in for Drew,” John says, and even hard-ass Evan laughs.
“Replaced!” Alex sips a cup of coffee.
“You’ll always be my little sis.” Jackson comes to me and rubs my hair until it’s frizzy on top. “The only one I can annoy.”
“Mom!” I yell.
“Leave her alone,” she scolds them, but I can tell she’s impressed with Drew by the way she nods her head at me and glances over at him.
“Real subtle, Mom,” I say, grabbing Drew’s coffee from his hand and drinking it.
“You’re rude.” Jackson jerks the hot coffee from my hand and gives it back to Drew.
“Want to move to California?” Drew jokes. “I need you there when she steals my dinner, too.”
“All of you—” I point at them, “—are annoying.”
I make my own cup of coffee and try to wake up. No matter where I travel to, no one makes coffee as strong as my mother. I swear it’ll make anyone grow hair on their chest, but I drink it down quick.
“What are you kids doin’ today?” Mom asks, but I hadn’t really thought about it.
“Thinking about taking a side-by-side and driving around the property and showing Drew around.”
“Better not let her drive.” John laughs.
“I got stuck once, and none of you will let me live it down. Did any of you help me? No, I winched that shit– “ As soon as the word comes out of my mouth, my mother gives me a pointed look. “Sorry, winched that thang by myself. The only reason any of you knew was because I was covered in mud.”